There are marked differences, closely linked to social and economic policy, in mortality patterns between the developed and developing countries. In the former, there is a sharp drop in death rate from the first year, while in the developing countries high death rates persist throughout early childhood.
World statistics indicate that the number of deaths per 1000 population for 1970-1975 was 12 in the world, 19 in Africa, 13 in Asia, 10 in Europe, 10 in Oceania, 9 in North America, 9 in Latin America and 8 in the USSR. WHO reported in 1992 from a study on health production in 51 countries (with a special view to least developed countries) that a 10% increase in GNP increases life expectancy by 0.26% on the average, whereas an increase of 10% of primary school enrolment increases life expectancy by 1.21%.
In the early 1990's in Russia, life expectancy dropped further than that of any developed country. Male life expectancy has fallen from 64 to 57. Female life expectancy there is 71. Infant mortality rose 15% between 1993 and 1995, and the death rate reached 15.6 per 1000 people, a nearly 30% increase since 1992. In 29 areas of Russia deaths outnumbered live births in 1992. Inadequate health services and environmental pollution were being blamed.
Life expectancy in the European Region slowly but steadily increased until the beginning of the 1990s, when a sharp decline in the NIS also caused the regional average for life expectancy at birth to decline somewhat. As life expectancy in the NIS began to increase again in 1995, the regional average also started to increase again from 1995.
In Africa, AIDS will reverse hard won gains in childhood mortality. It will reduce overall adult life expectancy from a predicted average age of 62 years by the year 2000, to 48 years.